Breadth of molecular imaging

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Evan Godt, staff writer

Molecular imaging headlines are often dominated by applications in oncology and cognitive disorders. The breadth of information that can be gleaned from molecular imaging is actually much wider, as evidenced by some of this month’s top stories.

Researchers at the University of Dusseldorf, Germany, for instance, demonstrated how F-18 FDG PET can be used to tell how effective decompressive surgery for degenerative cervical myelopathy will be based on FDG uptake prior to surgery.

The study, published in the Journal of Nuclear Medicine (JNM), included 20 subjects with degenerative cervical stenosis and suspect spinal cord compression. F-18 FDG PET and MRI scans before surgery and after 12 months suggested that hypermetabolism in the cervical spine may predict improved surgical outcomes.

Another fascinating study this month used atomic imaging to investigate the molecular processes of flame retardants that could upset natural endocrine homeostasis. Researchers from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences used 3D x-ray crystallography to demonstrate how certain flame retardants can inhibit the enzyme sulfotransferase, which metabolized estrogens.

While tetrabromobisphenol A, the flame retardant used in the study, is no longer produced in the U.S., it is still present in the environment.

Of course, cancer studies still featured prominently among this month’s headlines. Another JNM study showed how FDG PET/CT imaging prior to osteosarcoma surgery and chemotherapy could indicate which patients needed more aggressive treatment. The New England Journal of Medicine also followed up on one of its own cancer studies by creating an animation to detail how radium-223 could reduce the risk of death in patients with castration-resistant prostate cancer by targeting bone metastases.

What headlines caught your eye this month?

-Evan Godt
Editor – Health Imaging